52 habeas corpus petitions pending in the Supreme Court: Law Minister

108 habeas corpus cases were pending in the Bombay High Court on Dec. 14, he tells Lok Sabha

A total of 52 petitions relating to “habeas corpus matters” are pending in the Supreme Court as on December 13, Law Minister Kiren Rijiju informed the Lok Sabha on Friday.

A habeas corpus is a writ used to challenge the unlawful detention or imprisonment of a person and protects fundamental rights.

In response to a question on the number of habeas corpus pleas pending in the Supreme Court and High Courts till date, the Minister shared the number of pending cases according to the Supreme Court Subject Category Code 1300 that relates to “habeas corpus matters” in the Supreme Court.

Giving a break-up for the past four years, the Minister said that at the end of 2020, 53 such cases were pending in the top court; there had been 40 cases at the end of 2019; and there were 43 such cases at the end of 2018.

Referring to the High Courts, he said that as on December 14, 108 habeas corpus cases were pending in the Bombay High Court; 35 such cases were pending in the Gauhati High Court until December 9; 24 such cases were pending in the Kerala High Court as on December 10; and in the Madhya Pradesh High Court, 97 habeas corpus cases were pending as on December 1.

Replying to another question on the number of cases pertaining to the “misuse of voting machines”, Mr. Rijiju denied any such possibility and stated, “The Election Commission of India (ECI) has informed that no such cases have been reported… EVMs [electronic voting machines] are fully secure due to technical and administrative safeguards.”

To another question on whether the government proposed to fix any time limit for ensuring speedy justice in the increasing cases of crimes against women, such as rapes and harassment, Mr. Rijiju said, “Disposal of pending cases in courts is within the domain of the judiciary. No time frame has been prescribed for disposal of various kinds of cases by the respective courts.”

“Government has no role in disposal of cases in courts,” the Minister said, adding that the government had taken several initiatives for the faster disposal of cases by the judiciary, including fast track courts.

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